Butter your Wood (spoon butter, that is..)

Heh, heh, heh….I got your attention there, didn’t I? Or maybe I am the only one with a dirty mind. Well, whatever the reason you are still reading, let’s talk about wood. Wood in the kitchen to be specific…..spoons, bowls, cutting boards, etc. When I decided to reduce the plastic in my home for safety reasons, I gave away my plastic cooking utensils and decided to rely more on my wooden tools. But, they needed some tender loving care because they looked dry, rough and neglected. They needed to be conditioned with Spoon Butter.


There are a ton of advantages to using wooden utensils in your home  – even one I bet you didn’t think would be true. Let’s discuss:

  • no scratches or noise
  • they don’t get hot
  • renewable source
  • won’t leach icky chemicals into your food
  • very durable if cared for properly ** Side NOTE – you can pass on wooden utensils just like your cast iron pots and pans to your children for generations. That helps reduce waste and garbage in landfills!**
  • beautiful and comfortable
  • LESS SUSCEPTIBLE to bacteria than plastic

Say whaaaaat? Oh yes – there have been lots of studies done on wood vs. plastic and wood always comes out as the winner! The US Department of Agriculture has told us in the past that plastic was more hygenic, but when they decided to finally find their proof, they couldn’t. (chuckle chuckle) In fact, they proved themselves wrong!! Could it be that something “natural” has a better defense against bacteria than something “man-made”? (hmm just a little something to think about…..) And in truth, it does. The cells of trees have a natural defense against bacteria so that they survive and that doesn’t change when the wood is made into a utensil or cutting board.

Now, there are some disadvantages to using wood – since I have to play both sides:

  • more difficult to clean
  • stain easily
  • if not cared for properly, can get splintered

But, here is my response: Pish posh. If you care for your wood utensils, cutting boards and bowls, they will be much safer for you and your family.


OK, so let’s do it. To keep your wooden lovelies in shape, follow these tips:

  • Hand wash with hot water and mild dish soap or scrub them with half a lemon and some coarse salt. (then cut up that half a lemon and throw in your freezer for future Garbage Disposal cleaning!) If you get really nasty, you can use a diluted bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution…up to you.
  • Please don’t put them in the dishwasher – the high water temp just dries them out.
  • Please don’t leave them floating in sink water to wash later – they will warp and crack.
  • If they start to look dry, light or fuzzy, rub them with a Spoon Butter (will share my recipe below).
  • Fix or dispose of split wooden tools, because food could get trapped in the cracks.
  • Stains or roughness can be fixed with a piece of fine sandpaper before oiling up.

Caring for your wooden utensils and cutting boards doesn’t have to be a chore. Applying Spoon Butter is easier than washing dishes and only has to be done around every 2 – 4 weeks depending on the wood.

Commonly, Spoon Butter is a mix of Beeswax and Mineral Oil. The ratio is usually between 1:2 or 1:3 beeswax to mineral oil – but it’s not a perfect science. However, I am not keen on using a petroleum product on my kitchen tools. Mineral oil is a colorless oil that’s made as a by-product of the distillation of petroleum to produce gasoline. It has been used as a common ingredient in lotions, creams, ointments, and cosmetics but I am on a clean ingredient journey and this is not on my safe list. Instead I am using an organic, unrefined coconut oil. Some would say it’s not wise to use a food grade oil (like vegetable or olive oil) as it can go rancid, but I have done my research and coconut oil and walnut oil have been shown to be safer than those other oils.


To make Spoon Butter, I heat up my ‘double boiler’ (basically a pasta insert in a large pot) and place a glass jar in the center. I add my beautiful beeswax molds (1.5 oz) and coconut oil (4.5 oz) together into the jar and then just let it melt. You can always use beeswax pellets too as they are easier to manage – just use a 1:3 ratio – like 2 Tbsp of beeswax pellets to 6 Tbsp of coconut oil. Once melted, I turn off the heat and let it set up. It should last a few months – but I doubt you will need it to last that long as you will happily be using it to care for your beautiful wood! Just roll up your sleeves and rub the wooden utensils and cutting boards generously with spoon butter and lay them out on a towel overnight to let it soak in. In the morning, give everything a good clean wipe and store away until ready to use! Easy.


Look at the difference already between the dry spoon on right and conditioned spoon on left!

Just like you have a routine to change your sheets or water your plants or scrub your toilets, add rubbing spoon butter on your wood. Tee hee. (couldn’t resist) I just laid everything out on a towel and while I talked with my family at the end of the evening, I slathered those tools with spoon butter. A quick wipe of my hands with a towel and the rest I just rubbed right into my hands. Ahhhhh. Tomorrow morning, I will wipe each tool down with a clean towel and put away for the next time we cook. As in…..tomorrow….

Happy Cooking!





2 Comments on “Butter your Wood (spoon butter, that is..)

  1. Thanks for sharing! I have been using an expensive organic wood treatment for quite some time now, and have been considering a DIY alternative. Can’t wait to try this!

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